20 Thoughts a Mom Might Have at 4:30am

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus

I’ve been a mom for four and a half years. It’s been about that long since I’ve had a night’s sleep that was uninterrupted. Even if my kids aren’t the ones that wake me, my brain is on overdrive, wondering if my to-do list was accomplished, hearing phantom baby cries, or already worrying about the things happening the next day. I don’t always wake up in the middle of the night with a baby, but I almost always wake up with at least a little stress. Here are a few thoughts I might have, if I wake at 4:30am…

1. Ugh. I have to be up so soon.

2. Did I ever move those clothes into the dryer?

3. I think we’re out of milk!

4. How is it possible that he snores so loudly?

5. Was that a baby I just heard?

6. I can’t forget to make the appointment for the baby’s check up.

7. When did she come upstairs? I’d take her back to her room, but she’s fast asleep. I guess one night is fine.

8. I thought the night sweats would be over by now.

9. I remembered to turn off the oven after dinner. I’m sure I did.

10. I definitely hear the baby.

11. Okay, we need milk, bananas, tomatoes, and bread. I should probably get up and write that down. But my body is sooooo heavyyyyy…

12. I wonder what happened at the end of that episode? I must’ve fallen asleep.

13. I just can’t get comfortable!

14. I’ve got to pee, too. Maybe I should just get up.

15. I guess the baby is quiet now, so I’m going to hold it.

16. Okay, count the sheep. One. Two. Three…

17. Thirty-one, thirty-two…

18. How many more minutes till my alarm goes off?

19. I guess if I’m not going to sleep, I could squeeze in a run before everyone wakes up.

20. Actually, I’m pretty sleepy now…

And then, I bet you can guess what happens. I finally doze off, somewhere in the ballpark of 6:00am, and then it just isn’t very long until there’s a toddler stomping up the stairs, or  a baby shouting “Mama!”

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! I’m writing from my Mom’s kitchen in Georgia, and we are here all week! I’m looking forward to sharing some humor with you!

J, with a cup of ice water: Can I have some ice?

Hubby pours out the water and gives the cup back.
J, a few minutes later: I need more ice.
He goes to the fridge and holds his cup up the dispenser… for too long. His cup fills up, then he says hysterically: Too much ice! I got tooooooo muuuuuuuch iiiiiiiiiice!
Holly: Here, let me help you. (Dumps out some ice.) Better?
J, crying: Still too muuuuuuuch!
Holly: Okay. (Dumps out some more ice.) How about now?
J, with a huge smile: Yep, thanks! (Walks away, crunching ice.)

The big kids have taken to running from D, and this morning they were calling him Pigman. Awesome.

We had been working in the garden, and EK had collected some not-yet-ripe Thai chili peppers…
J, running upstairs: Mooooooom! Mooooom! I need a napkin to wipe my mouth!
Me: What happened?
J: I ate it! I need a napkin!
Me: You ate a pepper that EK gave you?
J: Yes! Mooooooooom!
Me: Here, water is what you need. (I give him some ice water.)
J: Ahhhh. Fanks, Mama.

D: (screams at the table)
J, slapping the table: Be quiet!!!
Me: Don’t shout at your brother. We have to teach him not to shout at the table.
J: But he’s making all the loud noises!
Me: Actually, you’re also making loud noises.

J: When I was a kid, I don’t want a van.

J, when I said it was time to get dressed for the day: Okay! I’m gonna put on my pajamases!

EK, randomly: Gus Gus is the best mice of the universe.

J, coming upstairs from his nap: Look who’s heeeeeeere!

J, when he turns to see D following him: Uh oh! I better git!

Me, after a particularly gross poop: Don’t you want to start doing this on the potty? It’s less messy, and I don’t have to clean you up as much!
J: Nope, I’m good.

Hubby: What do you want for lunch?
EK: A cheese-adilla!

EK: Daddy, do you want your sunglasses back?
Hubby: That would be great!
EK: Well, actually I….
Hubby: Okay, thanks for nothing.

And this one wasn’t what they said, but rather what they didn’t say…
We had been in the car all afternoon and evening (after being at church all morning) to go to my parents’ house a couple of states away. It was about 9:40pm (a good hour at least past usual bedtime) and we had stopped about 20 minutes before to put everyone in pajamas, and get them settled in for the last hour and a half, when Hubby and I started listening to what the DVD was playing. For the past 20 minutes, the bigs had uncomplainingly watched the DVD menu loop. Only the baby was asleep, but neither of the bigs had said a word. Just a small sign of tired children.

J: Mom! There was a bigger bee on a bigger, bigger, bigger flower!
Me: Oh really?
J: Yeah! And it was boddering me. And if it was on your head, I would flick it off!
Me: Out of love, of course.

EK: Here, I have a job for you.
J: Okay!
EK: Stand right here. (She draws a circle around him, to the tune of Joy and Sadness from Inside Out.)
J: *draws a circle around her*
Me: Touché.

I’m loving that the kids are getting bigger and wider imaginations, and recreating/acting out scenes from their favorite movies. How do your kids pretend?

6 Reasons I’m Excited for Fall

Last night, Hubby and I sat outside on the deck and played cards with friends. It was ever so pleasant outside, with the lights strung around us, the cicadas chirping and a slight breeze. I might’ve even had a chill by the time we went inside, hours after the sun had gone down. It just made me even more excited for the start of fall. It’s always been my favorite season, so I decided to share with you a few reasons why I’m so excited for it to get here.

School. This one is big, maybe even the biggest, for me. I’ve spent my entire life either as a student, a teacher, or now the parent of a student, and so my goal-making, fresh starting, and excitement of all things new happens in the fall. We begin a school year excited for new opportunities, anticipating fall and winter holidays, trips, and weather, throwing ourselves gladly into rigorous schedules, and making short- and long-term goals for ourselves and our families. As a worship leader, it’s the time that several more ministries and church-related things start back up. As the mom of young kids, it’s the time that I get a couple of mornings a week of free time (thanks, preschool!) to write, to read, and to be “me” instead of “mom”. Those things excite me almost more than anything else!

Boots. These are treasured items in my wardrobe, and yet something I just DO NOT wear when it’s warm outside. They’re the first thing I lose in the springtime, because I sweat just thinking about wearing them in the hot. But I sure do love pairing them with dresses, leggings, and skinny jeans. They are almost my only footwear during the cooler months.

Scarves. Just like boots, I’m not great at wearing them in the warm weather. I get a little claustrophobic with something around my neck if it’s hot. But I love scarves for their pops of color, multiple uses, and the way they can replace a statement necklace for outfit completion.

Candles. I love scented candles! I also love candlelight, and so when fall is here with the yummy cinnamon smells and even on to Advent for the Christmas tree scents, there’s usually a candle lit somewhere in my home.

Fires. Whether from a candle, a hearth, or a roaring bonfire outdoors, I love to be near a fire! I like bundling up, cuddling, drinking and dancing near a big fire. Hubby’s friends used to pick up discard trees from around their neighborhood after Christmas was over, and have a huge bonfire in early January. I think that’s a brilliant idea and will be reinstating it this year.

Leggings. I’ve recently started loving leggings even more than I did a few years ago, maybe because they’re so comfortable and practical to wear while pregnant. I have several funky patterns, bright colors, and tunics with which to pair them. And THEN, I toss on a pair of boots for the fall-style win.

Well, now you know what I’m looking forward to. What are your favorite things about fall?

Things Toddlers Say

Hello again, Tuesday! I hope y’all are ready for some funnies to keep your week’s momentum up! Here they are!

Flattery will get you everywhere…
EK, while we were driving to a friend’s house: Daddy, you’re the master driver to tell me how long until we get there.

J pooped in his tiny potty finally: Mom! There’s a huge snake poop in there!

When J peed on the potty…
J: There’s the muchest pee I ever saw!
EK: Wow! That’s so great! I love you!

Just like a man, he carried the potty to where he could go while he watched TV.

EK wearing these pajamas…EK: After J pees on his potty, I’ll give him an ice cream from my… (Pointing at her knee, unable to think of the word…)
J: Pants?
EK: Yeah. Pants!

EK to me: Can we take a selfie? Wait! Let’s do chitchat! (She means Snapchat.)

EK: I want to be a doctor, and I can’t find my eperscope (stethoscope) OR my Doc McStuffins dress!
Me: *facepalm*

J: When we get to Annie’s grocery store, I want some ice cream and… um… and see… *trails off*

EK, after a big meal, pulls her dress up: Hey! Watch my belly pop!

During a game of pretend, while banging a toy pan…
J, to EK: Wake up! It’s morning time, schweetie!

Sharing tips over breakfast…
EK: J, take your blueberries and dip them in your syrup… (whispers) because it makes them taste like syrup!

J: When I get big, I will be the cook, and make you lunch, and you will like it! (Man after my own heart.)

EK, pointing at a girl in the Carter’s catalog: Wow. She is super. duper. cute.

Well that’s it for today. What are your kids talking about these days?

He Could Be My Son. 

Mahmoud Raslan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

This boy – five years old – having seen more than many children will see in their entire lives, has shocked our country into realizing and responding to the terror and violence wreaking Syria. It might have been easy to turn away from the information we get via television and the internet, when the headlines are often focused on the latest Trump-ism or Bieber folly.  But this photo, this one viral image of a dusty, bloody boy, tiny and scared, in the back of an ambulance, has been burned into my psyche. 

He could be my son. 

He could be a nephew, a neighbor, a classmate. He is all of those things, even if not my own. He is torn from his home by a futile attempt to force Syrian citizens into submission by the radical government regime. All the effort does is harm, maim, and kill. 

He could be my son. 

He could be one of hundreds, thousands. Displaced, alone, wandering. They might be hungry, thirsty, and tired. They are struggling to take even one more step towards just the possibility of freedom. 

He could be my son. 

He could be my very own boy, ripped from me by an air strike. He could be my son, and I could be torn from him by rescuers who can only save a few. He could be my son, my only possession worth saving, and I would die for him a hundred times over. He could be your son, dirtied, bruised, bloodied, scared to death. 


He could be my son. 

Please consider giving what you can to a local and specific relief effort. Here is a short list (there are many more!) of organizations taking donations of any size:

Karam Foundation 

Hand In Hand for Syria

Mercy Corps

Migrant Offshore Aid Station

If you can’t give, do what we can all do: pray. 

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! I hope you’ve all been successful in your back-to-school shopping, and getting some late summer relaxation in before the fall starts with a bang! Here are a few of our favorite funny sayings from this week. There are some pretty weird one-liners at the end, so read the whole way through! Enjoy!! 

 EK: When I was outside, by myself, picking up mushrooms out of the dirt, I heard a horse say, “Neeeeeeeigh!” I don’t like it when horses is loud. Sometimes they wake me up at night.
(The only redeeming quality of this statement is that there are actually horses in our neighborhood.)

J comes crying up the stairs, and Hubby can’t get him to calmly say what’s wrong. He’s crying about his lamp and a trash can. Hubby gets him calm and in bed, and goes to EK’s room.
Hubby: Why was J crying?
EK: Well, he turned on his monsters lamp. (It’s a Monsters, Inc. lamp.)
Hubby: What happened then?
EK: Well, I told him if he didn’t turn it off I would throw it in the trash can.
Hubby: Well that made him very upset.
EK: Yeah…

Heard from a friend at church when she was with J….
J: When I get bigger, I’ll be a man who cooks only apples.
Friend: Okay… whatever you say!

J, in the car: When we get home, I want water in a cup and to watch TV.
Me: You know what I want to watch? Volleyball!
EK: I totally told you!

J, all the time now: Let’s play wolleyball! Mom! Can you play wolleyball with me?!

EK, upon first seeing/hearing about water balloons: What are they?
Me: It might be easier just to show you.
EK: But what are they?
Me: I’m going to have them ready in just a second.
EK: But what are they?
Me: Give me a minute.
EK: But what are they?
Me: …..!!!!

J, above: Is this a castle head, mama?
Me: Yeah, I guess it does look like that!

J, above: Look, mama! We’re chefs!
Me: ….uh….

Me: It’s almost nap time.
J: Is it firty?
Me: It’s 1:55.
J: I don’t know that letter.
Me: It’s actually a number. It means five minutes until nap time.
J: A nummer? Can we make food then?
Me: Um. After nap..?

And now for some random but hilarious one-liners…

J, to EK: My mama’s gonna put my shirt on, then I’m gonna tell you a secret!

EK, looking at the sky: Aww! That sunset gon’ make me cry!

J, at bedtime: Go to bed, Mama. I’ll stay right here.

J, at 6:50am: Can we play water balloons?

EK, pointing at the baby: Mom! D has a brow! He looks like a pirate!

J, unprompted: Mom, I wish my donkeys would come.

EK, showing me something (?) on her Leap Pad: You’ve got to eat a snack, like apples on an airplane.

Well, I hope you enjoyed those tidbits of what life is like around here. What do your kids say that’s just too crazy?


How is it possible that summer is almost over? I can hardly believe that it’s halfway through August, and we are gearing up to get back in the schoolyear routine. I won’t lie – I love it. I love the routine, the schedule, the way my kids love school and the way it improves them to have it in their week. But before we get back into the swing of things, we’ve got a couple more weeks of being lazy, sweating, and relaxing. Here are a few things I’m currently up to…

Planning || my best friend’s baby shower! She’s due at the end of October, so I’m planning things with a few of our friends to celebrate her baby girl! I’m so excited! I’ll post about the shower after it happens – don’t want to ruin your surprise, Lauren!

Anticipating || Another friend’s gender reveal this weekend! I’ve never actually been to a gender reveal party, and the only “gender reveal” I did with any of my kids was let EK devour a cupcake with blue icing and post a photo on Facebook. So, needless to say, I’m excited to see what they choose to do! AND I can’t wait to start getting a few things for the baby, once I know the gender!

Stressing || about toddler life. J has proven more difficult (in some ways, at least) than EK was in regards to toddlerisms. For instance, he’s been doing this (disgusting) thing where he takes a bite of something, decides he doesn’t like it or want it, and just holds it in his mouth for a super long time. Like, up to half an hour. And it’s been different things… a bite of squash, a BBQ flavored potato chip, a spoonful of yogurt, a bite of okra. It’s not like it’s been spinach every single time or something. But it is GROSS and I’m over it. He also tantrums more often and more intensely than EK did. I’m certainly not giving in to it (like bribing him out of them), but it’s uncharted territory to figure out whether to just leave him in the living room floor, or move him to his room, or try to sit him in time out. He just goes belly-down and kicks his legs on the floor. Yikes.

Baking || a garden fresh squash bake! We had a few large squash from the garden, and I wanted a creative way to use them up. My big kids don’t really like squash, so I didn’t worry about choosing a recipe they would like. After scrolling through twenty or so recipes for “stuffed squash” of many varieties, I settled on making my own. I had read several with sausage, and several with a grain of some sort (quinoa, etc), so I stuck with sausage, and added grits, fresh tomatoes (also from the garden) and some pepper jack cheese I had in the fridge. It was delicious!

Well, that’s about it for our last little bit of summer here. What are you doing until school gets started again? Or has it already started for your family?!

Childhood Unplugged

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus

I bet you read the title to this post, and thought I was one of those no-technology, stick-to-the-outdoors sort of moms that somehow get their toddlers to eat vegetables at every meal, and don’t even have televisions at their houses. 

I’m definitely not one of those. 

My family has regular movie nights, where we watch entire movies, even beyond our “expert”-allotted one hour of screen time and right before a later bedtime. My kids eat veggies when they’re in pasta sauce or baked into muffins. And get this: we don’t even go outside some days, especially if it’s all that hot. 

But sometimes, we have opportunities to live life unplugged. My daughter has a keen imagination and could play dress up for hours. My older son loves wooden trains and tracks, and spends entire mornings rolling them along the tracks or on table edges, seeing if they’re going to crash when the magnets carry too much. They love coloring, blanket fort building, helping in the garden, and recently, the Olympics have brought on a random but fun interest in volleyball. My oldest and I are reading our first chapter book together, and imagining the pictures as we go along. 

I’m not pretending that we do these things every day. Sometimes, we don’t have a totally unplugged day for weeks at a time. But when we do… when I forget I have an iPhone, I don’t care what’s on TV, I lose track of time, and we just play… Those are the times I feel like I’m sharing my own childhood with them. I remember days of reading book after book, throwing sheets over the dining room chairs and hiding underneath, filling giant coloring books with crayon colors, and swinging for hours. I love sharing my favorite movies with them, or playing reading games on the iPad, but sometimes, somehow, unplugged is just sweeter. 

Now, I’ll be crying by the end of tomorrow about how my preschoolers won’t stop fighting, and I’ll have broken the unplugged magic by lunchtime, but hey- it can’t be every day. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Unexpected But Great

I have been waiting for this book for a million years. Okay, well, I’ve been waiting since the The Deathly Hallows came out for JK Rowling to announce that she had a little more to say. You can imagine I was thrilled when I heard that there was a new part of the story.

I will say that reading a play has always been a little weird for me, so when I realized that the book was actually a script, I was slightly disappointed. I love Rowling’s style, even in The Casual Vacancy, so to hear that this was just her story, and not truly her writing, was a little sad.

That being said, I REALLY enjoyed reading it! Yes, there was an element of the enjoyment that was happiness to be immersed in the wizarding world again. I mean, muggles get me down, ya know? But I actually enjoyed the story and getting a glimpse into the adult lives of Harry and the other characters I’ve loved so well for so long. ((Here are where the spoilers start hopping in there… if you plan to read it but haven’t yet, watch out!)) It was an interesting story and concept that Voldemort had procreated (yikes) so I had to read it in basically one sitting to ease my mind.

I didn’t really like the time travel obsession of the story. I mean, I get the time-turner idea and how they wanted to go back, and then they HAD to go back again to fix things. But it was confusing and convoluted, especially when I wasn’t seeing it, I was just reading a script that was inevitably less detailed than it would’ve been in book form. It also raised questions of “what if?” and “why this?” in several situations. Like, if the Potter’s house was under the Fidelius charm, why could everyone see it when they travelled back? And wasn’t it a little insulting to Cedric’s previously upstanding character to make him have one bad experience and turn to Dark Magic? I always liked Cedric! And Amos seemed old and bitter, but then I guess I understand that losing a child could probably make you crazy.

Anyway, overall, I’d recommend that you read it. Whether you’re a Potterhead or not, you’ll probably enjoy it. I know several people who were disappointed in it, but we all probably had unrealistic expectations, since JK Rowling didn’t actually write this one. It’s a quick read, so you’ve got nothing to lose. I enjoyed it, and plan to read it again once I’ve let my copy circulate through the friends who are borrowing it! If you’ve read it, tell me what you think!

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday, y’all! I haven’t had a chance to get this one up until now, so happy afternoon! We’ve had a funny week with the kiddos, so here are the highlights!

Hubby is trying to talk to his dad…
J: Daddy! Stop talking and close your eyes!

EK, looking at above picture: Okay- that’s pretty cute.

J: He stole it!
Me, to D: Can you give that back to J?
(D puts it in his hand for a split second, then snatches it back.)
J: He don’t wants tooooooo! (Dissolves into tears as I laugh at the irony.)

J: Look at I found! (Any time he wants to show anyone anything.)

J, when asked why he wasn’t taking his nap: I got a bad poop! (And starts taking his diaper off.)

One night after bedtime, I found EK at the top of the stairs about 45 minutes after I’d left her in the bed. I asked, “How long have you been here?!” She sighed a teenagery sigh and answered, “Five hours.”

J called this my “Cinderella glass”:

EK, as picture below: But I don’t have the same costume as them!

EK: But I want dinner!
Me: You remember the avocado and carrots and oranges? That was dinner.
EK: But I want something cooked in a pan!
Me: …….

Me: Would you like to hang out with our friends tomorrow?
EK: I wanted to go to the mall tomorrow.

J: Daddy, I love you. So do you have a baby in your tummy?

Listening to Jesus Loves Me…
EK: What’s this song? (She definitely knows it.)
J: The Bible of the book. From summer camp.

EK, after VBS: We went to the playground today, and I kick-ed dirt.

We’ve been putting conditioner in EK’s hair to help it get longer, and she’s now obsessed with how soft her hair is. Then this happened…
EK: Daddy! Look how soft my hair is! (And she did a little flip of her hair with her hand.)
J, running up: Mommy! Look how soft my hair is! (And he starts rubbing his hair with both hands, a la an Herbal Essence commercial.)
EK: Yeah, it’s because we condition it. (Like it had all been her idea.)

J’s newest word confusion: Choke and joke. Usually, it’s that he’s trying to say joke but says choke instead, and it’s a hilarious mix-up.

When we ask the kids to “Say cheese!” for a photo…
EK, nicely: Cheese!
J, screaming as loud as he can: CHEEEEEEEESE!
D, smiling: Shhhhh!

Well that’s it for today! What are you kids saying that’s silly?